This patent litigation practice positioned excellently across Europe is a market leader in Germany, too. Thanks to its well-rehearsed mixed approach, the firm has already built up numerous renowned litigators among both lawyers and patent attorneys – a team structure that sets it clearly apart from competitors Hogan Lovells and Hoyng ROHK Monegier. The different disciplines are now almost equally represented in the partnership. In pharma litigation, the team around Jüngst and Wolters-Höhne impressed the market with a large number of important cases for regular clients like Stada and Fresenius Kabi. One highlight was the successful defence of Teva’s blockbuster MS drug Copaxone against competitor Mylan. The technically broad practice also landed new clients, e.g. SAP – previously advised by the IT practice – for infringement proceedings and an employee-invention dispute. Other examples of working on the interface with other practices include Envipco returnable bottle readers (together with antitrust and public procurement). After a successful entitlement action, it also filed complaints with the Federal Cartel Office. Among the many patent attorneys with a strong name in litigation is Michael Alt, who, as part of an integrated team, represented regular client Nestlé against Jennewein regarding a patent for baby food, which has been used more frequently recently. On the downside, the firm did not feature heavily in the connected cars cases. Although it has strong relationships with industry giants like Nokia and Broadcom, these chose other advisors for these proceedings.
Hogan Lovells’ patents practice has maintained its position among the top German litigation firms. It is a well-oiled machine, not only conducting top-class litigation for a multitude of notable clients within a broad technical spectrum, but also regularly bringing young talent to the fore. The team consists of internationally renowned senior partners like Martin Fähndrich and Andreas von Falck, but younger partners are also catching up: Miriam Gundt has a good reputation for pharma cases, as demonstrated by the dispute over cholesterol-lowering drug Inegy for regular client MSD. Benjamin Schröer used the litigation for Google and Valeo/Peiker, as did Henrik Lehment on the side of Apple and Vodafone, to step out of the shadows of the visible senior partners. The fact that the practice regularly offers such development opportunities to young lawyers is also because of the large number of cases that the team handles year after year. Many of these – e.g. for Eli Lilly, Hoffman La-Roche, Vodafone, HTC and Apple – are cross-border cases handled with the patent teams in Amsterdam, London and Paris. Few other international practices develop their work so consistently across international borders. The leadership role assumed by the German partners within the European practice is based on their strong visibility in high-profile proceedings at German courts. The team scored another key victory for Eli Lilly, this time regarding cancer drug Pemetrexed. It also advised Valeo/Peiker as intervener for Daimler in the connected cars suits. Quinn Emanuel representing Daimler, despite the firm’s good connections in Stuttgart, is still painful for the practice. However, its expertise in SEP and FRAND issues remains unquestionable. With Apple, Google, LG, Vodafone and ZTE, the partners frequently work for a host of top players in NPE suits. HL is also vigorously expanding its team of patent attorneys. Eleven patent attorneys now support the lawyers in litigation with broad technical expertise.Further Analysis
The German team of this European IP boutique is among the market leading pure-lawyer firms in Germany. The team frequently conducts patent litigation in several markets in cooperation with equally well-positioned colleagues in Amsterdam and Paris. What sets the team apart from its closest German competitors Bird & Bird and Hogan Lovells is that it is not part of an international large firm structure, yet is still highly visible for IP in the key markets across Europe – with the exception of the London patent courts. Although there are patent attorneys at the Amsterdam office, setting up a mixed practice is not on the German team’s agenda. It continues to bank on strong ties to national patent attorney firms. The firm enjoys an especially strong position in mobile communications cases and pharma proceedings, representing, for example, Gilead in the game-changing SPC proceedings. In the mobile communications sector, Apple and Huawei frequently bank on the firm for cases involving mobile communications standards and other technologies – albeit not exclusively. The team is now predominantly active on the side of SEP users and defendants. The close relationship with mobile communications chip manufacturer Intel plays an important role. Hoyng ROKH Monegier was active for SEP holders for a long time, as Nokia’s go-to advisor, but is not working for Nokia at present. This is a massive change for the firm’s mobile communications work. The firm has long represented another company frequently taken to court by SEP holders: Deutsche Telekom. Overall, the firm is anchored within a broad technical spectrum and has a large, visible team of partners, which it recently bolstered with an internal appointment.Further Analysis
Thanks to its outstanding visibility before the German courts in high-profile mobile communications suits, the German litigation team of this US firm has caught up with the three market leaders Bird & Bird, Hogan Lovells and Hoyng ROKH Monegier. While a year ago Marcus Grosch’s team was still litigating for Qualcomm against Apple in the class action concerning semiconductor patents, it is currently omnipresent on the side of Daimler as the main defendant in the landmark proceedings over connected cars patents. The team not only litigated for the carmaker against Nokia, Sharp and Conversant, but also in another dispute against Broadcom. It is also involved in major proceedings over mobile communications patents for Blackberry, Google, IP Bridge and Netflix. To manage these cases, the team had to raise its associate headcount substantially. At the same time, young partners Jérôme Kommer and Jesko Preuß seized the opportunity to play a more visible role. This expansion was necessary for Quinn Emanuel to continue conducting such a high level of litigation within a wide technical spectrum. In the past, star lawyer Marcus Grosch had dominated the firm’s image. This year saw the firm litigating for BASF concerning sport soles. Work for the life sciences sector is on the increase, though there remains room for development. In this segment, litigation in high-profile cases at the German courts has been infrequent, but Quinn Emanuel showed what it can do in work for Pfizer and Merck. Drug originators are still awarding the big-ticket, cross-border campaigns to teams with a strong European presence, like Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells.Further Analysis
This IP boutique’s Düsseldorf patent litigation team is determinedly fighting its way to the top of the market, having been involved in two of the year’s highest profile cases. Not only was AR involved in a landmark decision, watched around the world, by the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) concerning FRAND case law for Sisvel, it also played a leading role for Nokia in the extensive and economically important connected cars dispute with Daimler. SEP suits and FRAND issues are thus at the centre of mobile communications work at present. Because of this, the firm’s ongoing work for pharma companies in highly important cases has been almost pushed into the background, for example the work for Sanofi involving insulin injections and the cholesterol-lowering drug Praluent. Streck also hired AR for the first time in a suit concerning prenatal genetic testing. The only disappointment was the loss of a counsel to an in-house department. However, following the associate losses last year, this is further indication that the firm must find a strategy to offer its associates attractive career prospects. The still young team of founding partners, the high leverage and utilisation rate are clear signs that the promotion of associates into the partnership is no sure thing. In competition with the market leaders, Arnold Ruess will thus have to offer up-and-coming associates prospects other than partnership. And in the long term, and especially when up against international competition, the firm will only be able to meet its clients’ high quality expectations with a stable team.Further Analysis
This mixed IP firm is a market leader for both patent litigation and patent prosecution. The firm solidified this position with two crucial moves. Firstly, it brought on board the young partner Alexander Haertel, who is experienced in mobile communications suits, as a partner for the Düsseldorf office, giving BP its first litigator at the site of this important patent court for some years. There were only two patent attorneys here before this, which put BP at a disadvantage against most of the leading litigation firms who have much larger teams of lawyers in Düsseldorf. Secondly, the firm is getting into gear for litigation in the life sciences sector. This had long been uncharted territory in BP’s otherwise top-class client pool. Following early success with Amgen and 10X Genomics, work for the sector has now ramped up considerably with a Japanese pharma manufacturer and other drug manufacturers. But BP is not yet on a par with the major pharma practices, e.g. Hogan Lovells. This would require the partners being seen more in cases involving important active ingredients – ideally on the side of the originators. The firm does play in the top league, however, when it comes to mobile communications and FRAND suits. The litigation team easily manages the balancing act between representing NPEs like Intellectual Ventures on the one hand and mobile communications manufacturers like Blackberry and Microsoft on the other. In addition, few other firms are as well represented in connected cars suits as BP. The team not only litigated for BMW against Broadcom, but also for Robert Bosch and TomTom as interveners for Daimler in the suits by Avanci pool members. The technically broad prosecution practice is an ideal basis for this. For years, Bardehle Pagenberg has been appearing in proceedings with teams of patent attorneys and lawyers more successfully and consistently than nearly all other mixed firms, with the possible exception of Bird & Bird. BP also stands out from most German IP boutiques for its international focus, with teams in Barcelona, Paris and Verona. Only Hoyng ROKH Monegier is slightly ahead due to its deeper integration within the European team. Building up more litigation expertise at its other European offices would be a logical next step in the firm’s development if it is to keep step with the other market leaders in the competition for major cross-border proceedings.
At the site of Europe’s most important patent court, Düsseldorf, this IP firm is very well connected. Because of close ties to patent attorney firms, it traditionally conducts far more proceedings than most competitors. Both of these facts have secured Krieger Mes its position among the patent litigation market leaders for many years. The partners boast a strong network both in the German judiciary and in industry and politics. They can therefore exert influence on important legislative projects – not only in the interest of clients, but in the interest of a functioning patent system. Having successfully brought an extensive campaign for patent pool MPEG LA to a close last year, the partners now focused more on litigation in traditional technology. They conducted many proceedings with medium to high volumes, e.g. for Claasen concerning laminates, for Brose and Benteler regarding auto technology and for Gea concerning milking technology. But there have been no major mobile communications battles recently. Although most of the firm’s partners are active within a broad technical spectrum, Axel Verhauwen stands out with his expertise in mobile communications and FRAND issues. Once again, he was seen in several cases by NPEs like Onebutton against well-known mobile communications manufacturers. On the industry side, he litigated for Texas Instruments as intervener for BMW against Broadcom in a connected cars suit. He is also known for his strong relationship with VW. However, the carmaker is currently only active in the background of the connected cars suits, for example in the current discussion about mitigating the automatic injunction in German patent law.Further Analysis
With a strong profile in pharma, biotech and mobile communications cases, this law firm is among the wider group of market leaders. Like its main competitors among the Düsseldorf IP boutiques, Krieger Mes and Wildanger, ROP conducts litigation in a wide range of technical sectors. For BP it won a case involving E10 fuel and was active for Siemens concerning construction cranes for wind turbines. ROP differs markedly from the two competitors in one respect: it does not represent NPEs in mobile communications suits, instead defending manufacturers like LG and Samsung. However, the two notable Asian mobile communications manufacturers also hire other firms. Despite experience with SEPs and FRAND issues, ROP only plays a minor role in the connected cars suits. It litigated for supplier Alpine as intervener for BMW against Broadcom. It is not involved in the landmark connected cars proceedings by Avanci pool members against Daimler. The firm’s second traditional mainstay is pharma and biotech litigation, where Thomas Musmann and Max von Rospatt are active at the top of the market. They are active in many proceedings involving economically important drugs, exclusively on the side of originators. They are conducting new proceedings for Amgen and a manufacturer of veterinary drugs. In many patent battles it is noticeable how the ROP partners work as a team much more consistently than in other boutiques like Krieger Mes. The ability to handle cases with large teams can be a competitive advantage in cross-border proceedings. That said, associate growth is important if the firm is to handle more of these large cases.Further Analysis
With considerable growth, especially in the ranks of the partnership, this IP firm has cemented its position as one of the most active and thus a leading litigation firm in Germany. Alexander Reetz, who joined last year, integrated seamlessly into the team, which is currently handling many SEP cases, e.g. for Sharp, IP Bridge and VoiceAge. In 2020 Wildanger expanded its associate base with a lawyer from Linklaters experienced in patent cases. More staff were necessary for the team to handle multiple series of SEP suits at the same time. The most prominent example is the work involving connected cars patents for Sharp against Daimler. Though SEP suits stand out, Wildanger’s actual strength lies in its broadly positioned and recently rejuvenated partnership. Litigation in pharma, mobile communications and mechanics patents accounts for relatively equal portions of activity.Further Analysis
The patent litigation team at this large international firm is a challenger to the market leaders and excellently positioned for pharma and mobile communications cases. The practice holds its outstanding position in the latter thanks to extensive litigation for regular client Continental as intervener for Daimler in the connected cars dispute with Nokia. The team of renowned senior partner Hufnagel and the young and established Prinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont defended Facebook against an attack by Blackberry. They were also active for Lenovo in a wide-ranging mobile communications battle. In pharma proceedings, the firm frequently litigate for Bayer and Novartis, and was visible for Ajinomoto in a technically complex case involving the production organisms for amino acids and for BMS in a high-profile dispute involving cancer immunotherapy. With a very high leverage for the market, the team is laying the foundation for building up a third partner in the long term. Some of the up-and-coming associates already enjoy strong market profiles. But when compared to the market leaders, personnel developments have tended to be gradual and are in any case more limited within a deal-focussed full-service firm like Freshfields.Further Analysis
With its team consisting purely of lawyers, this Düsseldorf IP boutique is geared towards patent litigation. The firm has a number of regular clients among medical product manufacturers, chemicals companies and auto companies who are constantly involved in lawsuits. Furthermore, it has ties to numerous Mittelstand companies. For the first time since its launch in 2015, Kather Augenstein has been less visible in the major proceedings this year. Following the end of the connected cars dispute for Audi and VW and mobile communications proceedings for Ericsson, it was not involved in the major mobile communications disputes. The firm also suffered the loss of its founding partner Alexander Haertel to competitor Bardehle Pagenberg. He had been involved in the connected cars cases. An experienced associate left the team to set up a new AI and patents business model for a client. Despite these changes, the team is a similar size to those of other Düsseldorf boutiques like Rospatt Osten Pross and has a good age structure.Further Analysis
The German litigation practice of this international full-service firm remains an important challenger to the market-leading practices. Unlike in previous years, however, the lawyers’ work is no longer dominated by suits concerning pharma and biotech patents, but by significantly more suits over high-tech and mobile communications patents. In late summer 2020, TW landed a coup with the preparation of a class action for German chip manufacturer Globalfoundries against competitor TSMC and 19 of its customers, including Apple and Google. The suit was settled before the Taylor Wessing team could show what it can do in the courtroom. Nonetheless, this was the first time in a long while that the firm was at the centre of a major patent battle. The firm can also be seen in other high-tech cases, e.g. for ZTE and Asus over mobile communications and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft over semiconductors. The patent team played a central role for Hexal regarding pemetrexed, one of the year’s highest profile pharma suits. Traditionally, the German team has an excellent name for litigation involving medical product and drug patents, in cooperation with the London office. It works for both generics manufacturers and originators alike. Abbot, Mylan and Pfizer are among the regular clients of the European practice. Recent months have been eventful in staffing terms: the experienced Philipp Krusemarck from DLA Piper bolstered the Munich team as salary partner. He brings experience in mobile communications and electronics and thus closes a gap, as Munich had previously focused on pharma suits. This reinforcement is strategically sound, given the fact that Munich Regional Court (Landgericht) has become considerably more important lately for SEP suits and FRAND issues – especially in high-profile cases involving connected cars. However, Taylor Wessing does not play a role in these at present.Further Analysis
This mixed IP firm is one of the market leaders in patents. For years, the patent attorneys have been especially well positioned in filing and disputes, particularly in EPO oppositions. However, V&P recently has written much of its success story with its up-and-coming team of lawyers. Over three years it has vigorously grown its Düsseldorf office into a visible unit. Since then, the mixed litigation team has not only been more active in cross-border cases, but also in mobile communications suits on the side of midsized and small manufacturers of devices, such as Hisens, Wiko and ZTE. The firm is doing excellent business with Asian companies and is looking after two Chinese manufacturers moving into the European mobile communications markets. In these cases, the firm is often part of cross-border teams made up of different international firms, and not only for mobile communications cases: Vossius was involved in an international series of proceedings for Heineken involving novel beer taps. It was part of the starting team for BAT in the first major battle over e-cigarettes, a market in which many suits between the tobacco corporations are expected. Vossius does not play a role in connected cars suits, however, as its position in the auto industry is too weak. But in biotech patents, the firm is amongst the pre-eminent players in Europe. Its patent attorneys battled on the frontlines again for CRISPR Therapeutics over the new genetic scissors technology CRISPR/Cas. Likewise, Vossius enjoys a strong position in medical products, with numerous cases for Smith & Nephew, ResMed and Boston Scientific.
In addition to the market-leading patent attorney practice of this mixed IP firm, the well-positioned team of lawyers is getting into gear in major litigation. The latter is still active for Broadcom/Avago in connected cars suits. After an initial series of cases against VW was settled, it stepped up its game for Broadcom with another case against BMW and therefore remains at the centre of disputes over connectivity in the auto industry. At the same time, the Broadcom suits are a clear sign of the increasingly successful cooperation between patent attorneys and lawyers. Clients from the automotive and chip industry have long entrusted the firm with patent filing, a fact that will pay off for the long term for the patent litigation team. Grünecker traditionally conducts proceedings with mixed teams within a broad range of sectors and technologies, e.g. for Arcelik concerning fridges, for Longi regarding solar technology and for Hytera concerning BOS radio technology. The patent attorneys are also active in opposition and nullity suits. Although frequently representing companies from the life sciences sector in oppositions, Grünecker’s prosecution practice is less active in the pharma sector than competitors Hoffmann Eitle or Vossius. This makes it difficult for the lawyers to gain a foothold in litigation over pharma patents. In the comparison with Vossius it is also noticeable that Grünecker is expanding its lawyer team less emphatically, for instance through laterals, instead seeking to grow organically with its own talent. But there are no further partners in sight in the short term. These are necessary as the lawyer litigation team is still too small, with just two partners, to handle more cases of Broadcom’s calibre. Unlike competitors Vossius or Bardehle, Grünecker is deliberately foregoing an office in Düsseldorf and therefore a stronger presence at Europe’s most important patent court.
There is no doubt that this mixed IP firm is among the market leaders for patent prosecution and litigation on the patent attorney side. It also boasts a well-positioned lawyer practice with an excellent name in pharma litigation. Both the patent attorneys and lawyers are seen in economically important cases, for example for Allergan in the CRISPR/Cas battle, for Sanofi/Regeneron concerning cholesterol-lowering drug Praluent and for Zentiva regarding cancer drug pemetrexed and HIV drug Truvada. But the firm does not always work in such cases with mixed teams: the patent attorneys are often seen on the side of external lawyers, too. As such, law firms like Bird & Bird have demonstrated how to successfully offer clients mixed litigation teams more often. More and more practices of purely lawyers, such as Quinn Emanuel, are also consistently conducting nullity suits and EPO oppositions without external patent attorneys – a frontal attack on Hoffmann Eitle’s original work. A more consistent strategy or further investments in the lawyer team would therefore be advisable. There is one major advantage the firm does have over many of its competitors: its prosecution work gives it direct access to lots of top-flight clients, primarily from Asia. This could help to strengthen the lawyers’ position for mobile communications proceedings. In this segment the patent attorneys are active in numerous nullity suits and EPO oppositions. However, the infringement proceedings for Tinder operator Match Group or the Japanese patent pool IP Bridge are generally conducted alongside external lawyers. The prosecution practice has a broad technical basis overall and has been bolstered in all fields by equity or non-equity partners from the firm’s own young talent. HE is not content with a presence only at the EPO headquarters in Munich and has its own prosecution teams in the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. When expanding into the home countries of key competitors in European prosecution work, Hoffmann Eitle always followed the needs of clients and rarely followed a large-scale expansion strategy, such as that pursued by competitors such as Vossius.
This partner-focused IP boutique with patent litigation teams in Munich and Düsseldorf has a strong profile for litigation in infringement proceedings, especially those involving mechanics and telecommunications patents. Klaka represented Wiko in the complex dispute against Sisvel. The firm also saw new work from long-time clients such as TCT. In other technical fields, both Mittelstand companies and large corporations, such as AVM Computersysteme and Certoplast, hire the team frequently. Contacts often arise via the firm’s established relationships with patent attorneys. Olaf Giebe, for instance, has been fighting alongside Weickmann & Weickmann for Sram against Shimano concerning bicycle components for years. Work involving chemicals patents was one area which made great strides last year. The firm is active in licensing negotiations for Leukocare in this segment. To propel this development further forward, Klaka now needs to invest in new associate talent. This could also help the firm’s visibility in major mobile communications cases, e.g. involving connected cars patents, where the patent team has not been particularly visible lately. This is particularly disappointing since the firm’s trademarks lawyers do have a strong relationship with BMW.Further Analysis
This German patents practice is gaining momentum in litigation. It benefits from the strongly positioned London office, with which it conducts numerous top-level proceedings for pharmaceuticals and biologicals originators– Pfizer and Eli Lilly are key clients of the European practice. Under the leadership of Feldges’ German team, the firm also litigated for Bayer in several proceedings, including a dispute with Ceva in 17 countries over a veterinary drug. The engagement of former head of patents at Bayer Animal Health Dr. Stephan van der Vlugt as a consultant shows just how close ties to Bayer are. The team also welcomed an experienced senior associate from Freshfields, who is dual qualified as a dentist. The new arrivals not only boost the team’s impact in the market, but also point to an expansion of technical expertise. Allen & Overy’s strong visibility on the side of originators is no surprise given its long-standing relationships. For these clients, the German team has been operating on an equal footing with market leaders like Hogan Lovells for some time. In cases involving mobile communications and electronics patents, on the other hand, it is only now gaining ground. Litigation for Samsung in two cases represents significant progress in this regard, as the team has developed direct contacts with the Korean technology giant. But the German practice has yet to translate the good ties of the Paris office to Nokia and the London team to Huawei into work, since the connections between the two mobile communications giants and other German firms are probably too tight. The German team already entered the field of connected cars patents last year with advice to Volvo on FRAND issues, but did not play a central role in the major proceedings involving members of the Avanci pool against Daimler. This could change if SEP holders start to focus more on truck connectivity and take legal action. The team already gained the necessary experience in FRAND issues in the long-running, cross-border mobile communications dispute for Archos.Further Analysis
This well-positioned litigation practice is firmly anchored among German Mittelstand companies strong in the technological sectors, conducting, for example, major proceedings for Erbe regarding medical products. Leifheit also instructed CMS firms in six European countries for numerous cases involving kitchen scales. Mobile communications and connected cars suits are beginning to play a greater role and the German practice made a breakthrough here: in connected cars cases, it now represents suppliers in the courtroom and also advises them behind the scenes. The firm is also active for a US carmaker in suits by two NPEs, as well as representing a mobile communications manufacturer against suits by two SEP holders. Unlike the connected cars suits, the latter are part of cross-border series of proceedings and it is not unusual for other CMS offices in Europe to open the door to such top-level companies for the German team. The firm also stepped up work for German companies like Elmos in China, as well as for Chinese companies before the German courts, one example being Jinko Solar in a dispute over solar technology before Düsseldorf Regional Court. Within the CMS network, the German CMS patent team often calls on the patent attorneys at legacy firm Olswang which is now part of the London office.Further Analysis
DLA’s patent team is carving out an ever-better position for infringement proceedings and patent advice. Although the practice is relatively small, it boasts a strong track record in high-profile cases. DLA again played a central role in connected cars disputes for Harman and Aptiv as first-tier suppliers of communications modules. DLA represented these as interveners for BMW in infringement suits with Broadcom. For Harman, the team is also active in the suits by Avanci pool members Conversant and Sharp against Daimler. DLA acquired Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft for an NPE suit involving touchscreen technologies and is working for another US technology corporation for the first time. Team leader Gampp has connections to these clients from previous roles and has now successfully activated them for the first time for DLA. To follow this with similar victories, the team will have to grow. The practice has so far not been as visible in pharma and medical products patents as it is in mobile communications suits, though it is growing continuously in its second specialty. It has good connections to Becton Dickinson and Medtronic and deepened ties to another international medical products manufacturer.Further Analysis
Wolfgang Kellenter’s patent team is prominent in litigation for both industrial companies and NPEs, acting for the latter in SEP suits against mobile communications manufacturers. In addition to the NPEs FIPA and IPCom, the team also battled for the patent pool France Brevets, initiated by the French state, against Apple. The team demonstrated that an industry-focused firm like HM can represent these clients just as successfully as traditional industrial companies e.g. for Renault as a supplier to Daimler in a connected cars suit. The French auto corporation drew on the team’s many years of experience with SEPs and FRAND issues. Litigation for pharma companies only played a minor role, although the team still nurtures good ties to AstraZeneca. In personnel terms the firm is stable. But the partnership will soon have to take a stand as to whether it wants a second partner in patents alongside Kellenter. Only with a broader setup will the team be able to carve out a position for higher-end work.Further Analysis
This large, international firm has a strong profile in Germany with its integrated team of patent attorneys and lawyers. The patent attorneys operate a relatively broad prosecution practice and provide litigation support to the well-positioned German litigation team as well as teams in other European markets where Jones Day has no patent attorneys. The German team is especially renowned in the chemicals sector, for example providing extensive litigation for Celgene in EPO oppositions. The team often cooperates with the strong US practice and colleagues in the UK and France, for instance for Idenix Pharmaceuticals against Gilead over the economically important Hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni. The firm’s German team is also well established among auto suppliers and traditional engineering companies. With the arrival of a team of electrical engineers previously working in their own firm, JD was able to fill a gap with experienced patent attorneys – a shrewd move to take advantage of the growing prosecution business coming to Germany via the US practice. However, renowned patent attorney Martin Weber surprisingly left the firm long before reaching the age limit for Jones Day partners. He played a central role in building the German practice and was the face of the pharma practice.
The great strength of this mixed IP firm is the patent attorneys’ far-reaching roots in numerous sectors and technical fields. This gives rise to a multitude of cases for the well-positioned team of lawyers around Tobias Wuttke, chiefly for Mittelstand companies. The litigation team is best known for its mobile communications work for Deutsche Telekom, which it successfully defended against a suit by Enovsys concerning data security in mobile location technology. The team was also successful for Commscope in the battle over WiFi repeaters in trains. Given the team’s now extensive experience in mobile communications it is no surprise that a manufacturer of communication modules is banking on it in a connected cars suit. But the firm is not involved in the major battles between Avanci pool members and Daimler, despite the patent attorneys’ good connections in the auto industry. Before now, the necessary team size was lacking. But MB has strategically expanded its litigation team with young, experienced litigators – most recently in Düsseldorf with a former non equity partner from EIP, thus forging ahead with its development of a mixed litigation team at the site of Europe’s most important patent court. The patent litigator joined Meissner Bolte as a counsel. In addition, Meissner Bolte has introduced counsel status to offer young lawyers career prospects. Three litigators benefitted from this right away, one of whom was named the second partner alongside Wuttke shortly afterwards. To complete the growth efforts, these now need to raise their visibility. They will find a good basis for this in numerous top-level cases, e.g. for Electrolux, Honeywell and Juul Labs. The firm also made a coup by bringing in Rainer Engels as of counsel. He was one of the best-known presiding judges at the German Federal Patent Court for a long time and mainly strengthens the team in nullity suits. The patent attorney team also raised its headcount, with three equity partner appointments and new associate additions from industry and other firms. In Bremen, however, a physicist left Meissner Bolte for Eisenführ.
This German law firm reinvented itself a few years ago and now has a strong profile in litigation for Mittelstand clients, among whom it is also well established thanks to excellent connections to pure patent attorney firms. What also sets Preu Bohlig apart from competitors in large international firms and IP boutiques is how its young team of partners has prioritised these clients first. This setup has given the partners a wealth of experience in a wide variety of technical fields. Furthermore, they have a strong client base among auto suppliers and in the pharma sector. The staffing additions of recent years have given the firm an entrepreneurial boost, which has lent momentum to business development. With two partners operating on the interface between patents and pharma regulatory law, the firm is in an excellent starting position to litigate for drugs manufacturers. One highlight was litigation for Hikma against Elli Lilly concerning pemetrexed. Berlin senior partner Donle boasts an outstanding reputation for litigation in mobile communications cases and Huawei is a long-time client. He is currently representing the Chinese mobile communications manufacturer in the high-profile connected cars dispute as the key intervener for Daimler against Nokia.Further Analysis
The well-positioned team at this small Munich IP boutique around Hosea Haag enjoys a solid market position thanks to his close ties to NPEs like Unwired Planet in mobile communications suits. The firm filed an impressive number of new mobile communications suits for Invte, Onebutton, Uniloc and Wsou Investments. Ampersand has therefore gained a great deal of experience in SEPs and FRAND aspects for plaintiffs. Litigation for Mittelstand companies is also part of the core activity, with frequent work involving complex patents, e.g. in optics. Development in this line of work was static, however, for the small team, as litigation for NPEs kept it busy. Although the firm gained some room to develop further work by naming a second partner, the loss of an up-and-coming associate, who started his own firm, was a setback in 2020. The hiring of a young lawyer has only partly compensated for this. The patent team will have to raise its headcount if it wants to strengthen its mainstay – work for industrial clients.Further Analysis
The German patent team at this large international firm frequently represents clients in infringement and nullity suits with several dual-qualified lawyers. The firm is especially well connected among Mittelstand and pharma companies and has a heavy workload in licensing negotiations. Jochen Herr’s team, for example, was active for Giesecke & Devrient and Becton Dickinson. The team also acquired Mittelstand auto suppliers as well as pharma and medical product companies from Germany as new clients. Cases for these are often extensive and keep the team busy for a long time. Prosecution is, on the other hand, not part of the firm's practice. The large firm's international network harbours many opportunities to continue the practice growth and good business development of recent years. However, the patents practice is partly hindered in building up new client contacts and personnel growth by internal conflicts. Competitors Jones Day or Simmons & Simmons counter this by handling cross-border cases more consistently within their European patents practices than the German Baker team does, especially as regards the London patent practice.Further Analysis
In patent filing, this mixed IP firm is among the market leaders in Germany. The patent attorneys file patents covering a wide technical spectrum for a large, international base of regular clients. The prosecution practice is well established in computer technologies, including semiconductors and software, as well as mobile communications, pharma and biotech. The patent attorneys also boast litigation experience but were not seen as frequently in high-profile cases as the smaller firms focusing more on litigation, such as Hamm & Wittkopp for pharma patents or Cohausz & Florack in mobile communications. The well-positioned team of lawyers is concentrated in Munich and conducts a multitude of proceedings in line with the breadth of the prosecution practice. The team offers all-round advice from a single source for regular Mittelstand clients. The battle with airlines over patents for mobile check-in on Aeritas websites has been ongoing for years, with new suits frequently filed. The litigation team is not, however, active in the major series of proceedings involving pharma and mobile communications patents, which is why its market visibility is still not as strong as that of the prosecution practice.
This mixed IP firm is one of Germany’s active prosecution practices but is also busy in litigation. The latter is focussed firstly on intensive work in EPO oppositions, especially for technology companies from the German Mittelstand, such as Enercon or Sennheiser. Secondly, the litigation team is increasingly involved in mobile communications suits. Patent attorney Jochen Ehlers successfully fought for Sisvel against Haier alongside lawyers from Arnold Ruess, with the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) ruling on precedent FRAND issues. The firm also displayed its expertise in SEP and FRAND aspects in mixed teams for regular client Philips and the HEVC Advance pool. This pronounced specialty would make Eisenführ a candidate for connected cars litigation, but it has no ties to clients in the auto sector. Regular clients Sisvel and Philips – although Avanci pool members – do not currently play a role in the litigation against carmakers. The firm boasts a broad technical setup both in prosecution and disputes. Many competitors, such as Cohausz & Florak or Vossius, however, are far more active in the life sciences sector. This has not been a traditional Eisenführ specialty before now, but the Munich office is developing activities here, e.g. for BASF concerning CRISPR/Cas patents.
The patent litigation team at this German full-service firm put in a strong appearance for its regular clients of Mittelstand companies and the pharma sector, where it exploited its experience in biosimilars and SPCs. Thanks to strong ties to a patent attorney firm, the team also took on the litigation for Diazyme in a suit over biomarkers. But the practice has not appeared in the big-ticket pharma proceedings for some years now and was not hired for the recent major mobile communications cases either. The two younger partners are yet to match up to the renowned Bopp in terms of market visibility. He is still active in some cases as of counsel. The team is also too small by comparison to be attractive to clients for large-scale proceedings. As part of a national full-service firm, the practice is more limited when it comes to growth than IP boutiques. However, potential could lie in FRAND issues or connected cars suits due to the strong interface with the highly esteemed antitrust practice and the firm’s excellent connections to south German carmakers.Further Analysis
This small Munich patent team, which is well-positioned for litigation and licensing advice, has undergone a radical change of strategy in the past two years. Originally started as a team for NPE litigation, it is moving away from this to provide more support to the industry clients typical of the overall firm. The firm therefore ended its close relationship with patent attorney firm Bosch Jehle, with whom it had initiated many NPE suits. The team gained a great deal of experience in SEP and FRAND issues in these and is now bringing this into play for mobile phone manufacturers like TCL and HTC. Ralph Nack and his team are advising major German auto manufacturers on developing industry standards, partly as a result of the firm’s good carmaker contacts. However, the patent team is not seen in the large connected cars proceedings, as its previous work for NPEs is still causing many conflicts. In addition, the team is still too small to handle such large-scale litigation alone. Thomas Gniadek leaving the firm was therefore all the more of a blow. The departure of the long-time salary partner raises the question of whether the Noerr partnership, which is focused on top-level M&A work, will allow another patents partner. Without one, it will be difficult for the team to reel in work from industrial companies. Such clients, unlike NPEs, demand not only know-how, but also a strong headcount.Further Analysis
Litigation involving pharma and biosimilar patents is the calling card of this German practice. The reason for this is a well-oiled European network with an outstanding reputation for pharma suits. Partnering with teams from other European offices, the German practice frequently litigates for Bayer and Samsung Bioepis in cross-border cases. On the other hand, work for Boehringer Ingelheim, a regular client of partner Ina vom Feld, came to an end, as she moved to Herbert Smith Freehills. The team remains sturdy in this segment, however, thanks to Peter Meyer. In sum, it was a year of upheaval overall for Simmons & Simmons: in Munich it welcomed Thomas Gniadek and his clients Formlabs, WiLan and Match Group. His wealth of experience lies outside of the life sciences sector in SEP and mobile communications suits. Rebuilding the partnership in the key Munich office worked faster than many expected after the firm lost another partner experienced in mobile communications in 2018. Thomas Gniadek’s arrival also underscores the firm’s strong ambitions regarding cross-border cases outside of the life sciences sector. S&S made this investment at a time when the future of the UPC is uncertain because Munich, as an important European patent city, was a blank space in the firm’s network. It must now raise the German team’s visibility in mobile communications work. Following the moves, Düsseldorf and Munich are now of a similar size and responsibilities are clearly divided. Düsseldorf focuses on the life sciences sector, while in Munich other technological fields will predominate in the future.Further Analysis
Sebastian Heim’s patent team at this German full-service firm boasts a solid position in patent litigation for Mittelstand companies strong in the technological sectors and currently works for the firm’s regular clients including ZF Friedrichshafen, Ziem Imaging and garage door manufacturer Hörmann in infringement proceedings and parallel nullity suits. The team increasingly conducts these, as well as opposition and nullity suits, without external patent attorneys. Clients regularly express high satisfaction with the service and work results. In litigation, specialties in the automotive, renewable energies and medical products sectors are emerging.Further Analysis
The team of lawyers at this full-service firm is well positioned in patents and advises many clients on a wide spectrum ranging from employee-invention law to patent litigation. These include many regular clients from the auto and chemicals industry, such as VW or Wacker Chemie. CBH is increasingly able to combine the particularly outstanding experience in employee-invention law of Jens Kunzmann’s Cologne team and the many years of experience of the Munich lawyers around Stephan Gruber in infringement and nullity suits. The connections of the Cologne-based lawyers to notable industrial companies are often the starting point for this. They recently landed a US electronics corporation as a client. But this is increasingly becoming a two-way street: the Cologne lawyers are now advising two of the Munich team’s high-profile clients, Siemens and Wacker Chemie, on employee-invention law. It remains conspicuous, however, that the litigators are rarely active in pharma suits. The same goes for connected cars suits, despite CBH’s excellent links to car manufacturers and their suppliers. The younger partners in particular do not yet have a visible profile in pharma and SEP cases.Further Analysis
This UK IP firm has been active in the German courtrooms from its Düsseldorf office since 2013. But what really gives it the necessary market presence among the major German litigation firms is the current litigation for Conversant against Daimler concerning connected cars patents as well as the arrival of Florian Schmidt-Bogatzky, an experienced mobile communications litigator, in the summer of 2019. 2020 saw the firm bring in another lawyer with litigation experience from Bird & Bird. The litigation team is clearly positioned on the side of NPEs and SEP holders. In addition to the connected cars suits for a regular client, the two partners are also battling against mobile communications manufacturers for IP Bridge and Broadcom/Avago. Schmidt-Bogatzky brought the contact to chip manufacturer Broadcom/Avago from Bird & Bird. The team handles both cases in cooperation with other firms. To a much lesser extent, a partner also advises pharma companies on patent law, for example on licensing.Further Analysis
The small, well-positioned team of this Hamburg IP firm mainly conducts patent litigation for defendants. One of the two partners boasts strong connections among healthcare companies and provides comprehensive advice in patent litigation and pharma advertising law disputes. The other partner’s regular clients are Mittelstand companies specialising in mechanics, which he often accompanies in infringement proceedings all the way up to parallel EPO opposition and nullity suits. Companies from the packaging and consumer goods industry also feature heavily on the client list. The only patent attorney recently left Harmsen Utescher, taking prosecution activity with her. However, she worked relatively independently from the lawyers, so her departure has not weakened the remaining litigation activity. Harmsen Utescher no longer offers patent filing.Further Analysis
The litigation team of this full-service firm is best positioned in Düsseldorf, where its technical breadth is an asset in litigation. This is the result of ties among Mittelstand companies from a variety of sectors. It is not unusual for such clients to come from throughout the EU thanks to cooperation with firms in the international WSG network. The firm often conducts proceedings for Mittelstand companies as plaintiffs involving highly specialised technologies, e.g. for the French medical product manufacturer EchoSens. For the first time, the Heuking team is also involved in a major mobile communications suit for Swissphone. While litigation for medical technology manufacturers made headway, pharma proceedings still only play a minor role. The lawyers have been following a new path, however, in what were traditionally fields of advice for patent attorneys: for the first time, the team filed two utility patents for a special machine manufacturer. In addition, Anton Horn successfully filed suit in Germany against the teff patent: the Dutch Port V.O.F. had patented the ancient African food in Europe, which led to protests in Africa. Although the teff case was pro bono, it marks the team’s entry into nullity suits without external patent attorneys. This is a road that other law firms like Quinn Emanuel took long before Heuking. Heuking has no ambitions to integrate patent attorneys into the firm.Further Analysis
This patent team is well positioned for cross-border patent litigation involving pharmaceuticals and biologics. Such proceedings are conducted by Julia Schönbohm and her team exclusively for researching companies like Sanofi, Shire Viro Pharma and another international pharma corporation, where they work with Linklaters’ London and Paris teams. The German team is developing a second specialty in suits over electronics and mobile communications patents. In the latter, it is currently busy advising German auto manufacturers on FRAND aspects. In the connected cars proceedings, however, the team is not present in the courtrooms, unlike the teams of similarly positioned international firms. Further cross-border proceedings are those for Seoul Semiconductors involving LEDs. The coordination of such work is still often the responsibility of the London practice. But the German team must aim to handle more major disputes independently. This will require growth at partner level and getting the associate attrition under control. The patents practice operates independently from the corporate practice, but this is what sets the tone at Linklaters – including the potential which the firm’s international network offers the patent team.Further Analysis
With its tried-and-tested mixed approach, this Munich IP firm is largely geared towards disputes, with pharma, biotech and medical products clearly dominating the firm’s public image. Work for the life sciences sector has always been Maiwald’s great strength. The patent attorneys rigorously conduct oppositions at the EPO and nullity suits involving key active ingredients. They are equally active for patent holders and manufacturers of generics and biosimilars. Marco Stief, head of the lawyer team, is a distinguished expert for licences and patent extensions for drugs (SPCs). A look at the many notable prosecution clients, on the other hand, shows how strongly the firm’s filing work differs from litigation. The firm files electronics and mechanics patents for numerous companies. Like many Munich outfits, Maiwald has a technically broad filing practice. This has not only grown with new portfolios, e.g. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but also with a number of new patent attorneys. Maiwald also appointed lots of patent attorneys to partner or counsel – an expression of how it cultivates a structure similar to large firms. The firm is seen as well-managed. Maiwald is yet to establish itself, however, in litigation involving electronics and mobile communications patents. Prosecution clients like Huawei and Intel would be a good basis for more visibility. But for both clients, Maiwald would have to prevail over well-established house firms. A strategic strengthening of the litigation team – with a lateral visible in the market with their own client contacts – is therefore just as important as bolstering the Düsseldorf office with additional lawyers.
The German patent practice of this US firm is well positioned in the German market thanks to strong connections to auto suppliers. Although it is not visible in the frontline of litigators for the high-profile connected cars suits, it is advising Harman International, one of the most important suppliers of connectivity components, extensively in the background. In the litigation for the Avanci pool, it was DLA which represented Harman as intervener for Daimler. The firm also acquired an Asian component supplier as client, who is preparing for NPE suits from connected cars patents. The litigation for Harman shows how effectively the ties between the preeminent US practice and the German patent team can work. However, the firm has not brought this strength into play often enough so far – partly because the European team is too small. It is not only connectivity aspects that play a role for the practice. Work for other auto suppliers like ZF Friedrichshafen centres on more traditional car components. Henrik Holzapfel enjoys a strong name for litigation involving chemicals and pharma patents. The lawyers also litigate in medical products proceedings.Further Analysis
This mixed IP boutique focuses largely on litigation and enjoys a strong market position for both EPO suits and nullity and infringement proceedings. While name partner Frank Peterreins is mainly known for litigation for Boston Scientific concerning medical technology, Thomas Adam has a good name for cases relating to technology, especially mobile communications patents. Here, the firm appears primarily on the side of NPEs. These two specialties somewhat obscure the fact that the partners litigate within a broad technical spectrum, in line with the patent attorneys’ busy filing practice. They were recently active for Ivantis concerning eye implants, for Hanwa Q-Cells concerning solar technology and for BorgWarner regarding camshaft adjusters. Due to the high litigation workload the firm was able to recruit a lawyer experienced in mobile communications suits and antitrust from Simmons & Simmons.Further Analysis
The patent team at this international IP boutique is one of the well-positioned litigation players in Munich. It not only benefits from the growing importance of the patent court in the Bavarian capital, but also from its nationwide visibility in mobile communications suits on the side of ZTE and TCT. But it is not just these two mobile communications companies keeping Taliens increasingly busy: the firm is heavily involved in litigation for plaintiff Orckit IP concerning network technology. Thomas Lynker’s German patent team therefore saw growth within the existing client base. If the firm wants to widen this client base and technical expertise further, it will need to raise its associate headcount. If it wants to expand into life sciences – a sensible option, perhaps – as both the Munich and Paris teams advise medical product manufacturers (in Paris, for example, BostonScientific) – an experienced lateral with connections to pharma companies would be a logical step. But that would mean a cultural change for the still young firm.Further Analysis
The selection of law firms in the above table reflects the research of the editorial staff at JUVE and is based on interviews with clients, lawyers and academics. It remains a subjective view and implies no disparagement of any firm not mentioned here but which is nevertheless active in this field. The firms are alphabetically listed within the groups.
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